Digital Citizenship

DecorativeFrederick County Public Schools believes that developing responsible and productive digital citizens is a critical life skill and one that we can best accomplish when our school staff and community work together. Digital Citizenship helps students to learn, communicate and collaborate safely and responsibly online. FCPS will be sharing tips monthly to help parents and students navigate the digital world safely and securely.

Watch this episode of FCPS Spotlight to learn more about the Digital Citizenship initiative.

Media Balance and Well-Being

The tips below, focused on media balance and well-being, are courtesy of Common Sense Media. More information can be found on their website.
  • Watch and play together - Choose quality, age-appropriate media to enjoy with your kids. Visit to find shows, games, and more.
  • Create screen-free times and zones - Help kids take breaks from technology by limiting screen time in bedrooms, during study time, or at the dinner table.
  • Try parental controls - Set content limits that make sense for your family. Alongside conversations about healthy media habits, use features such as content filtering, privacy settings, and time limits offered by the apps and platforms your family uses to help manage access and exposure to media. See your service provider for more information.

Relationships and Communication

The tips below, focused on relationships and communication, were developed by FCPS guidance counselors on the Digital Citizenship Task Force.
  • Take time to unplug - As parents, are we aware that our own screen time impacts our families and relationships? How is our time spent with our phones, tablets or computers? Many devices have tracking tools that help us to monitor screen time for our children and our own use. Let’s challenge ourselves to limit our screen time while we are with our children, spouses and loved ones.

  • Face-to-Face conversations are not overrated - Let’s talk about face-to-face time with our children and loved ones! Try eating meals without devices. Face-to-face conversations improve moods and empathy, while encouraging family interactions and information sharing. It can also be lots of fun! Enjoy your children, not your device.

  • Turn screen time into teaching time - When engaged in your own screen time, invite your child to observe how you write texts, emails, or social media posts. We all know it’s hard to interpret or convey tones and appropriate responses. How can you teach your child to be clear and kind when chatting online? Model this behavior and ask them to help you write appropriate messages.

Digital Footprints and Online Identity

The tips below, focused on digital footprints and online identity, are courtesy of Common Sense Media. More information can be found on their website.
  • Be a role model - Before you post a photo of your kid on social media, ask if it's OK to share. Not only will you give them control over their own digital footprint, you'll also be showing them what you expect them to do with others' photos.
  • Use privacy settings - Together, go through all the settings on new apps to make sure you both know what information your kids are sharing. Especially in the beginning, it's better to share very little.
  • Question everything - Before you sign school forms or register for a new online service for your child, check the privacy policy to see what kind of information you're giving the school or company and who they're sharing it with. Sharing some data might be required, but you may be able to opt out of others. Talk with your kid about why it's important to protect your personal data.

News & Media Literacy

The tips below, focused on news and media literacy, are courtesy of Common Sense Media. More information can be found on their website.

From clickbait headlines and bogus sources to fake news sites, today’s digital landscape is as scattered with techniques designed to deceive and manipulate as it is filled with opportunities to inspire and educate. Successfully navigating today’s media requires students to have a broad range of literacy skills to sift through the noise. Here are a couple things you can do at home to encourage information literacy.
  • Verify the origin of your information - Show kids how you get news and information from different places, and explain how you make your choices. Use words like "credible," "trustworthy," "respected," and "fair."

  • Discuss the process of information sharing - Point out to kids that information spreads quickly through social media without verification. Social media is a tool that often allows opinion to be presented as fact.

Privacy & Security

The tips below, focused on privacy and security, are courtesy of Common Sense Media. More information can be found on their website.

It is important to protect your privacy on your computers and phones.

Computer Privacy - Take a look at the privacy settings offered in your browser (usually found in the Tools menu) to see whether you can fine-tune them to keep the good and block the bad. Websites install cookies on your computer that track your movements. Some cookies can be beneficial but some are designed to remember everything you do online and sell that information to advertisers and other companies.

Smartphone Privacy - Settings on smartphones vary, but you can tighten up privacy with these precautions:
  • Turn off location services. That prevents apps from tracking your location.

  • Don't let apps share data. Some apps want to use information stored on your phone (your contact list, for example). Say no.

  • Enable privacy settings on apps you download. Make sure your teens are using strict privacy settings on services such as Instagram and Facebook.
Worried about how to keep your kids safe on the internet? Watch this Common Sense Media video to discover six ways your kids can protect their online identities.

Executive Functioning for Students: Back to School Tips

Students often need support in developing executive functioning skills. Executive functioning is a set of processes that enables us to focus and accomplish tasks.

Using Google Apps for Education, students can keep track of work on their phones as well as their Chromebooks? Apps such as GMail, Google Classroom and Google Calendar can help keep kids organized in their work. Check out some of these apps today.

Game Ratings

As we enter the season of giving, games continue to be a popular gift item. Do you know what the game ratings mean?
  • EC - Early Childhood, suitable for ages 3 and older

  • E - Everyone, suitable for ages 6 and older

  • T - Teen, suitable for ages 13 and older

  • M - Mature, suitable for ages 17 and older